We took a road trip this year for Thanksgiving. It’s not like we went on vacation, just the two of us. No, we broke with tradition and made the trek to New England to visit our respective families.
When i moved to Washington DC, i stopped traveling North for Thanksgiving. With traffic and two dogs, it was just too much time in a car for what ends up being a short visit. And honestly, i find my family difficult to be around for long periods of time and holidays. I know that’s not a unique perspective. It’s probably more blunt than what people are used to. Like many families, we just haven’t evolved from our childhood-teenager roles to our adult roles. My parents are still this, my brother is still that and i’m somewhere in the mix, too.
To be even more honest, i find our relationships even further challenged because of money or the perception of it. My family (mistakenly) believes that because i work in a large metropolitan area, i am wealthy. Like 1% wealthy. There is this expectation that when we visit, we will pay for everything. And the expectation has moved into reality. I’ve been stiffed on bills repeatedly. I have also been hit up for gifts from nieces and nephews that i know they would never dare ask their parents for. I have tried politely discussing this, directly discussing this and even splitting dinner bills. It never works and a week-long visit can cost as much as a trip overseas.
This holiday, we threw all this to the side in a “what the hell” moment. Actually, that’s not completely it. A family member has been ill and unable to travel. Without airing news that isn’t mine to share, i can say our “what the hell” moment was rooted in the need to see this person while we can.
Armed with a new strategy on coping with family members, we let everyone know their would be no “friendsgiving” feast this year, packed up the car and took off.
The visit was as good as can be expected. We spent wonderful time with our niece and nephew. We had some unexpected adventures and discoveries hanging out with my brother. We managed to escape without spending too much money and family drama was kept to a minimum. It was as close as i will get to an all around lovely visit.
But, i did realize on the way home that i neglected to reflect on what i’m actually grateful for. With the hustle and bustle, it’s so easy to gloss over this. So, here goes:
- I am thankful that despite stresses, we were able to visit our families. It was wonderful to see our nieces and nephew.
- I remain thankful that i have a roof over my head and relatively good health.
- While i don’t have endless friends, i am eternally thankful for the ones i have. They are a constant source of support and laughs.
- I am ridiculously thankful that we have a new neighbor who collected the mail and looked after the condo
I am also thankful i was able to spend another year honoring Thanksgiving and not spending it in line at Wal-Mart. Call me old-fashioned, this is a holiday for family not shopping. That’s my opinion, you don’t have to share it.
Anything you forgot to give thanks for?